Reserve Study Best Practices

Written by David T. Schwindt, CPA RS PRA Published: 21 November 2005

  • Reserve study provider should be appropriately credentialed including RS and PRA designation.
  • New law applicable to all new construction, conversions and perhaps existing projects.
  • All maintenance manual tasks including inspections, repairs and maintenance should be included in the reserve study with appropriate lives, costs and appropriate funding.
  • If a maintenance manual inspection or procedure is funded out of the operating budget, it should be included in the reserve study as a zero cost component.
  • Before finalizing the reserve study, the reserve study provider should consider meeting with the maintenance manual provider, HOA Board and property manager to insure all tasks and costs are identified and funded.
  • Reserve study provider should consider timing of maintenance and inspection procedures to help reduce building envelope access costs.
  • Reserve study /maintenance plan providers should review all repair information and inspection reports to ascertain potential revisions to maintenance/repair component costs and estimated useful lives.
  • Reserve study and maintenance manual should be reviewed/updated annually.
  • Reserve study as a management information system – could include the following: date and result of each inspection including recommended action; date, cost and vendor for each major repair/replacement; data base for important documents such as warranties, work orders, inspection reports etc.

Reserve studies are a scheduling tool – they can be used as a reminder to board and property managers to conduct inspections/maintenance procedures.